As part of a trip to Dreamworks Animation earlier this year, I was treated to a preview of their next 3D animated film, Turbo, due out on July 19th, and also a quick peek at Mr. Peabody and Sherman, due out in March 2014.
A supercharged snail? That seemed to be a strange premise for a movie. But then, so is a grouchy old man who sails his house to Paradise Falls and that idea turned out okay. Turbo has its roots in a superhero movie, where someone who has dreams but not the means to accomplish them and then is magically transformed by superpowers. It’s from the same production team as Kung Fu Panda.
The preview introduced Turbo (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), a snail who dreams of winning the Indianapolis 500 race. Unfortunately, it takes him a half and hour to travel across the room, so while it’s easy to admire his grit, that dream seems hopeless. Until, as happens, he is caught in a situation beyond his control while watching street racing, and is supercharged via car engine.
He’s found by a man who belongs to a group that stages snail races for recreation. (Some people play Munchkin, these race snails.) Turbo finds out just how fast he is in his first race. But he also finds out how much he has to learn when he boasts he can beat the rest of the snails in any race. Through ingenuity and by being led by Samuel L. Jackson, the other snails indeed beat Turbo despite his powers.
The preview hit just the right note, a little tongue in cheek and funny without losing any of the drama. I found myself rooting for the little snail, despite the impossibility of his dream. If the rest of the movie lives up to the preview, it’s going to be a lot of fun.
The quick preview of Mr. Peabody and Sherman was much shorter. It was a scene between the dog, Mr. Peabody, and his boy, Sherman, in their wayback machine. For those who don’t remember, these cartoons were part of the classic The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. In their segments, Peabody and Sherman “fixed” history but mostly it was very skewed history played for humor. Ty Burrell of Modern Family is voicing Mr. Peabody and Max Charles (young Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man) is playing Sherman.
The scene hinted that the movie will keep the same tone as the segments and I’m interested in anything Burrell does, so we’ll see.